Nick Weston – Itchin for fishin

IN

Unassuming, calm and collected, Nick Weston is a man of intrigue. Director, owner, chef, hunter and forager of Hunter, Gather, Cook, Nick is a very busy man. With strong ideals and a proactive manner. A man of the land, who works best with his hands. A butcher, a builder, a fly tie-er. He is a man content to sit in the woods and watch, and wait.

Arriving in East Sussex, on the long drive south, we take a trip with Nick to one of the finest trout rivers in the south of England, the River Itchen, in the next county. Where Nick feels most at home is on the river. Fishing is how he would spend his perfect day. Fed by the river. The whole process of catching, preparing and eating is the complete experience to him. As a kid, he would be sent out into the wilds for the day; when he started coming back home regularly with animals he had caught, his mother decided it was time he learned to cook them himself alongside her.

Nick studied hunter-gatherer societies in the dawn of the Neolithic age at university, but after graduating found himself in the full swing of daily life in London. However, it came to a time where, despondent with a life in London, he wanted to try and see if it was possible to live as a hunter-gatherer in the modern day. And so he took himself back to the woods, built a treehouse, and tried to live off-grid, off the land, for 7 months. Fishing, foraging and hunting he created a self-sufficient life there – his girlfriend, now wife, Clare taking to visiting at weekends as opposed to spending full-time there.

We were lucky enough to spent time with Nick at his place in East Sussex. Nick’s ‘work’ treehouse in the woods, is a little more luxurious. With clay ovens and all manner of grills, knives, pans, and a team of friends and chef-helpers. Tonight it is just three of us under canopy around the fire-pit. We all sat engrossed in the flames in each other’s company.

Before school, we’ll take little Marley to the local game dealer.

Alongside Nick is his scruffy little terrier dog ‘B’. She is a truffle hunting dog. As pup Nick trained her to sniff out English truffles in the depth of the woods. She is so good (and adorable) she even has her own Instagram account and stars heavily in the ‘HGC’ life.

Roused in the early hours by squirrels and deer going about their day in the morning woods, it is time to head out for the day. Nick suggests we head back to his house as he’s on the school run this morning. But before school we’ll take little Marley to the local game dealer to pick up some pheasants for later. This little kid is not phased in anyway by the prospect, he’s excited. “He’s the future director of Hunter Gather Cook.”

When we get back to Nick’s for a morning brew, Clare and Marley are going about their morning rituals. Upon seeing a camera come into the house Marley scales the shelf in the living room to retrieve his (defunct) camera and show it off to us.

Since we saw Nick the building has started on the new HGC HQ in a beautiful old flint barn and his first book has gone to print. From a county boy to a foraging teacher and fire whisperer, he is a man of many talents, though so humble he is, he would be the last to admit it.

Nick and 'B'

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